JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Defense Ministry has walked back its denial of a request to have an off-duty soldier killed in a supermarket stabbing attack declared a fallen soldier.
The ministry changed course on Sgt. Tuvia Yanai Weisman following the intervention of MK Elazar Stern of the Yesh Atid party, the Times of Israel reported Wednesday, and agreed his gravestone at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem will read either that he “fell in battle during a terror attack” or “fell in battle.” Stern served four years as head of the Manpower Directorate for the Israel Defense Forces until he retired in 2008.
On Sunday, the Defense Ministry ruled that Weisman, who was unarmed and not in uniform when he was killed Feb. 18 at the Rami Levi supermarket in Shaar Binyamin, north of Jerusalem, would be labeled a victim of terror and not a fallen soldier.
His widow, Yael, had sought to have her husband’s grave attest that he “fell in battle during a terror attack.” Yael Weisman said that when her husband saw two Palestinian teenagers enter the store and begin to stab shoppers, he left her and their 4-month-old daughter to try to help, leading him to be killed by one of the assailants.
Weisman was identified by the U.S. State Department as an American citizen.